Great Game, Great Win

A rootin’ tootin’ doozy of a game at the Bell Centre, with the boys in red beating the defending Stanley Cup champions 2-1  in overtime when Andre Markov buried the puck and the Chicago Blackhawks with his second goal of the game.

An Original Six matchup that captured everything the original Original Six would muster – great goaltending at both ends, lots of scoring chances, end to end action, tremendously close calls, the fans into it in a big way.

If only Danny Gallivan had called the game. It was all we were missing.

Unless I’m forgetting something, this had to be the best game at the Bell Centre this year, or at least the most exciting, which, I suppose, is one in the same. The guys were alive. They came to play and they got it done.

I’ll bet the downtown Montreal bars were hopping for hours after, filled with good vibrations and cheer.

And what a confidence booster it could be for the Canadiens, seeing that they can compete against a fine team after getting taught some harsh lessons from L.A. and St. Louis last month. Forget the bad ones and remember the good. And then do it again more often.

A revitalized Alexei Emelin, who hasn’t been his normal self lately, snapped out of it and went out and thumped several Hawks, including a beauty on Patrick Kane that very well may have charged up an already charged-up team that would ultimately carry through to the end.

Brendan Gallagher found himself in a scrap with Kris Versteeg that of course put smiles on faces, with Gallagher, at 5’9, holding his own with the 5’11 Versteeg. It’s not often we see Gally squaring off like that, and it was another moment to make us all realize that the Canadiens were fired up for this game.

Chances came fast and furious, including some beauties when the Canadiens were shorthanded, with Plekanec and Prust coming close, and then Eller, who had it in the bag until a sprawling Corey Crawford got his skate on it. It was a great save, but a tad lucky too. And that’s no slight on Crawford, who was excellent for his team.

So close with all those chances, and yet so far, as the Hawks would tie this barnburner in the third after first having a goal disallowed because of a player in the blue paint interfering with Price, and with just over a minute to go, rang a puck off the post which almost sealed it.

But they didn’t seal it, and in overtime, Andrei Markov, from a deflected pass from Max Pacioretty, bulged the twine behind a screened Corey Crawford, and Habs fans rejoiced, especially Luci, who may have damaged my left eardrum. I enjoyed it in slightly quieter fashion.

What an enigmatic Habs team. They sleepwalked and were generally quite pathetic in Philly on Wednesday, and a few days later play a dandy against a tremendously strong Chicago Blackhawks squad. We just never know what to expect, even though for the last month they’ve been on the listless side, which more and more we’ve come to expect.

Saturday night they came to play, and let’s hope this is a springboard for a strong rest of the season.

It was a complete team effort which begs the question – why don’t they play like this more often?

Random Notes:

Habs outshot the Hawks 38-20 and although Crawford had more work, Price was equally outstanding.

George Parros dressed and was on the ice for 3:33.

Next up – Tuesday, when the New Jersey Devils visit. Some real big games coming up after that but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.


9 thoughts on “Great Game, Great Win”

  1. Dennis, that was an excellent and perfect game recap. The Habs continue to amaze us when we least expect it.

    This was their best game of the year, and it makes my heart soar like a Black-throated Huet-huet.

  2. Good on Galleger to release some frustration. Good on Emelin to .get some hits. The boys showed some pride tonight!!! Wish those folk who keep wanting to trade Plecs would calm down–nite in-nite-out he humbly does his job and has little opportunity to “build chemistry” with linemates as for a few years now they give him whoever’s leftover. During the Halak- led playoff run few years ago, he was compared to Pavel Daytsook [wrong spelling, sorry] of Detroit. That may have been wishfull thinking but he sure eats the time up while on a penalty kill. Dump and chase= dump Thornbush; chase our dream—–#25 hanging in the rafters!!!

  3. Great recap, Dennis. That was easily the best game our schizophrenic Habs have played in a long time, probably going back to their hot start last season. I saw a team skate with purpose and blazing speed, and it used that speed to force an equally fast Chicago team to make many mistakes. If not for Crawford’s heroics, playing in front of his hometown fans, that game would never have made it to overtime. The shots on goal total last night was an accurate reflection, in my mind, of the game play. Montreal was the better team last night, and I didn’t see any passengers. No question, the Black Hawks, as the defending Cup champions, bring out the best in all of their opponents, but the Canadiens were still full value for their deserved win last night.

  4. Best game I’ve watched & they’ve played in years, if only they would bring that passion every night!

  5. Montreal played great; they were a step ahead of Chicago most of the night. But the pessimist in me worries that this was Chicago on an off night and they still almost won. When they scored they made it look so easy. So the big question, did we outplay them only because they had a bad day or did they have a bad day because we outplayed them.

  6. Christopher, the next day I read some Hawks blogs and in many of the comments, Hawks fans were saying their team played poorly. But I prefer to think the other way – that our guys caused them to play poorly.Seeing them skate like that wasn’t just from Chicago playing bad. The boys were flying and created tons of chances. Maybe the Hawks were off, but at the same time, the Habs were on. And except for a skate toe, Eller almost buried one. Other guys came close too.

  7. I’m not one to heap praise on the Habs where none is warranted, but they deserve it in this case. They played a great game, and it was their pressure and solid play that made an extremely talented and well-coached Black Hawks team look much more ordinary than it usually does.

  8. There were a lot of great moments in that game. But one of the best parts was seeing Alexei Emelin back in the saddle inflicting painful bodychecks over and over again.

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